Dispel Absolutes
Dispel Absolutes
Dispel Absolutes
Dispel Absolutes

For Better Communication Part 2

Posted on March 20, 2012

In nature, we observe that all things can operate either smoothly or roughly. When systems are operating smoothly, they are functioning within optimal guidelines. Conversely, when systems are not operating smoothly–but roughly–they are less efficient and outside the best guidelines. Take an eight-cylinder automobile engine, for example. When the car engine is running properly the sound is smooth, the fuel is utilized greater, and it is better for the car. If you are cruising down the road in this vehicle running on seven or fewer cylinders, not only are you using more fuel, it is potentially harmful to the vehicle, and will take longer to reach your destination. Smoother operation = efficiency.

If we were looking at an oscilloscope, we would say that there is less deviation from the mean. Same is true for star systems/planets, the weather, and even our own bodies — everything!. As with other universal laws, why wouldn’t better communication help us convey our thoughts to others in a more efficient way?

Even though each language has evolved, societies have established certain guidelines to help us relate our thoughts to others more efficiently. We call these guidelines words/phrases/sentences/paragraphs, grammar, punctuation, and spelling rules. They may also include the way we deliver thoughts through these guidelines. With speech, we deliver them with inflection, tone, pitch, diction, and cadence. In writing we use cadence, word/phrase/sentence length, settings, tone, etc. A mistake in any of these will create a bump to the listener or reader. In a nanosecond, a quick mental double take results. Questions arise to the attentive, while seeking what should have been a clearer meaning. This often confuses people and causes further problems through misunderstanding.

This is why learning, and exercising each language properly, helps avoid confusion and gaps or roughness. You and I know this intuitively, but we all have times when we feel mentally lazy. Sometimes our own language becomes so routine that it fosters this. (As an aside: There are some languages—Asian ones specifically–requiring so much attention to detail that they force the writers and readers to pay much more attention. I believe this, in turn. assists them in their attentiveness.

It is at mentally-lazy times that we may decide on “just sloughing through,” and are not paying much attention to the fine points of precision. This attitude creates the lowest common denominator in language ability. As mentioned in Part 1, it seems disheartening that television and movie writers continually cater to the lowest common nominator rather than trying to help everyone elevate language skills and therefore help avoid the proverbial bumps in the road, and possibly more misunderstanding. One would ask if the writers even know better themselves?

This takes us to the issue of foul language. It seems that each culture, for whatever reasons, has categorized certain words and phrases to be taboo. Expletives may be deemed a no-no because they are too crude, obscene (sexually explicit), or even harmfully discriminatory and thus inflammatory. Additionally, some words or phrase usage is generally frowned upon for religious or spiritual reasons. To strengthen cultural adhesion, such expletives and expressions are best avoided.

We can be mentally challenged due to anger, depression or general excitement. These are the times when we can be less alert. During such events we let our guards down, and are more given to using improper words or phrases.

There are, however, people who can become just as addicted to using certain expressions as they could be with drugs or alcohol. You recognize them. They are the ones who seem compelled to use offensive words instead of better descriptive adjectives. Often these people just don’t care what others think or how well they express themselves.

The author has chosen to write about improving communication. since doing so lays the foundation for a smoother, less bumpy, road ahead for other topics. As I have said, mistakes will be made.

We will try communicating in a way that moves thoughts between us as smoothly as possible, but oversights are inevitable.

 

We submit, YOU decide.
Edward Allen
 

 

Fear of Knowledge

I am not afraid of most knowledge. It can not harm or kill me directly.” --Edward Allen

 

“I am not afraid of most knowledge. It can not harm or kill me directly.”  --Edward Allen

 

   When we look at the above, our knee-jerk reacFetion is usually to say: “Well that is just common sense. I am not afraid of knowledge. How ridiculous!” Yet. Are you sure?  I submit that most people receive  some NEW information with a degree of trepidation and may not know it.

 

   Obviously, any information that offers a genuine physical threat to us personally or to our family, loved ones, friends or property, will naturally elicit our resistance. Most will advance their defensive walls automatically. As an extreme example, if we perceive that witnessing a crime could cause us, or others, physical harm, we will either 1) physically retaliate, or interfere at once,  2) study more and then react, or 3) we could deny the information and turn away as O.J. Simpson may have done. There are many books available explaining why we retaliate physically.

 

   The knowledge I am referring to is not physically threatening—except, possibly, as a stress-related inducement. Some knowledge can pose threats to us only cognitively and emotionally. When one feels
that his ideological, religious, political, scientific, creative, occupational, or possessional choices are threatened, the proverbial “flight or fight” reactions are elicited – sometimes in much the same ways as would be as if the sources are attacking us physically. If one has believed in certain religious positions wholeheartedly, for example,  it is natural for that person to fear a change in position as a threat.

 

   The key word above is “choices.” Is the knowledge presented to you, and accepted by you, a choice? Could it be that what you accept as true knowledge is internalized because you have denied any alternatives as a defense mechanism? I submit that no one on earth has ever chosen everything that is presented as truth, and thankfully so.

 

   Although some information passes enough litmus tests to be true, some knowledge is downright false. Some information is presented as only appearing to be entirely true. Some information is presented to us with only partial truth, but with enough actual, undeniable facts to deceive. Some information presented omits key points, while cleverly ignoring them by design. (Some politicians are very skilled at this one.)  And then, I repeat, some facts, to the best of our knowledge, are true. How we react to the knowledge is a choice.

 

   We make our choices as to whether the information is real, factual and true based on our prior experiences, observations and learned data. So what is the best way to go about learning and choosing
truth? As I have said in previous blog posts, one has to keep questioning. By seeking more and more answers, we will make more advancements. I will continue repeating this phrase throughout my philosophical posts. Our choices are based on the questions we raise and the answers provided either by nature or humanity.

 

   Let us use the hypothetical of a school child. Suppose the child has learned all that was presented in the Seventh Grade. If that child then closes his/her mind and intrinsically allows the mind to be convinced there is nothing more to learn--and thus stops asking internal questions--then any advancement toward other grades or graduation is certainly prevented. The child's learning level will remain at the Seventh Grade level academically forever. But, if he or she resumes asking questions at any time thereafter, then informational advancement continues once again.  

 

      One has to study the sources of information as much as the information itself. Study the writer by investigating the author's background and qualifications. Study a speaker the same way before you accept what is said at face value. It would be advice to take a mental check of the following:


    a) Is the writer or speaker profiting from the content?


    b) Does the writer or speaker earn a living from the content?  


   Neither of the above qualifications should necessarily diminish or nullify the message, but should be considered simply because when one depends on content for material advancement, the temptation to embellish the message is elevated.


    c) Study between the message lines for tone, style, pitch, cadence, while seeing to identify certain patterns. Authors and speakers use each of these for emphases. Sometimes these methods are used to effect emotions—much like movie makers use music--while influencing choices. They can also be used to elevate emotions while masking omissions! Understanding the usage of each of these helps explain how powerful publications and speakers can mesmerize huge audiences.

 

   Study the sources of the information that are presented. Is the research verifiable, repeatable, and consistent with normal standards? Do your own research, if available, such as reading the original sources for yourself, as well as additional sources that may or may not agree with the author or speaker's views.  One might not always have the time for these things. This is where we supplant direct involvement with vicarious learning or acceptance by faith. The latter can be a sanity safety valve. (We can discuss this statement more fully later.)

 

      All of us would be well advised to consider that life is a series of matriculations. As we make choices and learn, we graduate to the next level in ALL AREAS. The old adage that “no one has a corner on truth,” applies to everyone. But all societies must be devised to allow people to matriculate in their knowledge, just like the grade school child. To do otherwise is to condemn mankind to mediocrity. This is why freedom is so important.  Societies that restrict access to knowledge religiously, politically or economically, etc., stifle their inhabitants' personal growth. The opposite is true for those societies which work to foster questions and thereby reduce the inhabitants' fears of new knowledge.

 

  If we want to remain free – free to make informational choices in all areas of our lives, short of harming others or general society—then we must constantly remain aware that freedom is the opposite of control, unless you are the controller! We become the controller by increasing our knowledge, and when you are the real controller, you do not fear the knowledge you have and present.

 

Understanding and accepting the above provides me incentives to look at opposites of views I hold. For instance, I am on both Republican and Democrat mailing lists and emails. I continue studying religious views, from Eastern, Middle Eastern and Western cultures. I have read the Koran, the Bible, Hindu texts, etc. Of course, my Friends, I do not agree with all of these or any one specifically, but by
extinguishing the fear of knowledge, my mind is opened up for new revelations.  This also, should not suggest that I do not believe in standards. I do, but in order to verify to myself that these standards are valid, I must keep asking questions. Do you feel this way? This is not to say that the same should apply to you, but I write this in the hopes it may help someone drop his.her fears and ask questions.  

 

Edward Allen
We Submit, You Decide

 

For Better Communication, Part 4

W.I.P.C.

 

    As we sat in my car, a newly-hired salesman asked just how he could follow an objective even though his prospects were, in his words: “rambling over various subjects about themselves, their possessions or their children.”

 

    “Just how do I keep them on track?” he asked.

 

    I then drove him, out of my way, past a local media outlet which champions the call letters 'W.I.P.C.” Pointing to the sign out front, I emphasized that to reach his objectives with anyone, he must commit these call letters to memory.

 

    W.I.P.C. can be considered an acronym for WARM-UP, INFORMATION, PRESENTATION, CLOSE. This is the order in which good communicators reach their objectives step by step. This is true for EVERY form of communication--not just for sales settings. It applies to over-the-fence and sofa chatting, bar bantering, public speaking, and all forms of writing, such as composing letters, articles and novels, etc. If one breaks this orderly rhythm-—one might expect a breakdown in conveying thoughts to others. This applies regardless of background, knowledge, personal or material appearances, and speaking or writing abilities.

WARM-UP:
    Even before eye contact can possibly be made in person (even if you do not know you are being observed), the speaker must be warming up the potential listener(s) or reader(s). Good communicators do this by defining their actions with cleanliness, good grooming, style, training and preparation. As we prepare to warm up our audience, we are also preparing ourselves better. This is one of the beautiful ironies of good communication. ­

 

    I said to the new sales recruit that day: “You should be waving to them as soon as you see them, or as soon as you pull up into their driveway. This way they know you are friendly.” Warming Up applies to advance preparation before a speaking engagement, as well as preparing for publication.

 

    We have less than 20 seconds to make our first impression on others. If we wait until the proverbial door is open, people will have time to establish more perceptive defenses. Removing others' defensive walls, brick by brick, starts with eye contact, friendliness, cleanliness (both of person and approach), positive content and style. On the flip side, everyone instinctively agrees that good communication does not begin with a closed, cold, or amateurish approach.  

 

    This is self-evident for speaking, but for writing, more should be added. As a writer, the book cover, jacket or brochure needs to be appealing before one will be open to further inquiry. Good writers are alerted to drawing their readers inside the message or plot with setting, style, syntax, rhythm, grammar and sequential control.

 

    I would encourage communicators to imagine a telescope. Start out large: Universe—the book; then smaller: Galaxi—the chapter; smaller: Star—the paragraph; ever smaller: Solar systems; even smaller: planets---the sentence and its structure.

 

    From the first outline, a hierarchy should be established and maintained. It should go something like this: Chapter--paragraph--topic sentence—developing sentences. The developing sentence(s) should build upon one another by further edifying and clarifying the previous sentence Hidden within each paragraph is a silent microcosm of WIPC. Starting with the first draft chapter, The paragraphs and their respective topic sentences should build upon one another, just as with the developing sentences. When one paragraph is completed, the process begins all over until the total message or plot is conveyed. When communicators follow these steps, most communication breakdowns are avoided and the objectives inherent within the message can be achieved much better.

 

Information:  

    In verbal communication, understanding the audience helps make certain the statements used are appropriate and tailored for the listeners. Like other forms of communication, one has to know the subject well before it can be transmitted to others, so gathering information is essential and is a no brainer. Information is gathered through research, personal experiences and introspection. This knowledge is then used to convey the messages for any purpose.

 

Presentation:
    This is how the content or plot develops according to the speakers' or writer's designs. Just remember to follow the steps outlined above. The best rule of thumb here is to allow yourself to imagine you self as the listener' or reader. If you can, then you will speak or write in ways that will assist the movement of your message to the other as efficiently and clearly as possible.

 

Close:
    The Close is also called the Summary. It should be a clean, synopsis of the whole message, but never should it be lengthy or a rehashing of the
message already presented. The summary is designed to cement the message within the  recipient's mental concepts or imaginations. The summary/close serves to help listeners and readers recall the essential points later.

 

    Summarizing our message is the final call to action. If carried out appropriately, the Close or Summary will be enmeshed within the presentation and not necessarily a an identifiable, lengthy, restatement. When presenters make drawn out, overdone closes, they are revealing their lack of preparation before the speech or written effort. Most often, the audience will resent the author/speaker, the time spent and may interpret the message as simply pushy or overbearing. In this case, all objectives may be lost and the message soon forgotten. The speaker or writer, however will remain in the audiences' minds much longer.

 

Edward Allen

We Submit, YOU Decide  

 

 

 

 

Addressing the Boston Marathon Tragedy

 

Posted on April 16, 2013

I began writing this article earlier in the day, then decided to delete all that I had written. On second thought it was not fair to the victims and their families. I had digressed too much.

We have seen too much horror lately. There is no need to conjure up images of all the terrorists’ and other wackos’ evil works here. You are well aware of them and what they have done to our collective psyches. To be fair to all the victims of such attacks, we should do some introspection. Certainly, America should be reflecting on the causes of such wickedness, but we are not alone, so should the U.K., Russia, China, – EVERY country in fact!

Yes, America has taught its young people that we “are the light of the world.” We teach our people that we should spread freedom to everyone, yet day by day our government restricts our own more and more. Is this true of you country too? I’ll bargain it is in one form or an other.

We should be seeking the root causes for such violence, instead of emphasizing the capture and punishment of the perpetrators to the exclusion of the former. (Although the latter must also be done.) For by identifying the causes and/or triggers, we might change the atmosphere for lessening such horrible events.

A good physician or therapist will treat not only the symptoms, but the causes of a malady–in hopes of preventing the symptomatic perpetuation and an increasing threat to the organism itself.

Societal structures are organisms. Not all should exist, and those that do should be kept to a controllable minimum, but they are living organisms, just not by all scientific definitions. When any group is organized, and group think germinates, the structure will seek defense of itself. When there is an internal threat, such as a disease to a person’s body or foreign ideology to a collective group of individuals, the organism will adapt defensive measures. Let me repeat: This is true whether for the collective cellular organism of an individual person, or the collective structure of religious or secular organizations and governments.

THE CAUSES OF SUCH TRAGEDIES carried out by people, are some diseases, insanity, drug-induced MAL-THINKING and mind-numbing repetitions that fuel paranoia. The CAUSATIVE FACTORS to the collective organization are perceived THREATS to the group think.

An individual can go berserk while thinking to be perfectly sane. The same is true for collective organizations. Each member, while acting like the individual mind, will collectively attempt defense of the group think. even to the point of collective insanity. Millions of deaths in the last century bear this out.

As previously mentioned, in America, emphases are placed on capture and conviction of the perpetrators. This is fostered by the news media as a way of keeping the event milked for public interest and for the selling of advertisements. This is true even though allowances are sometimes made for individual sympathies and empathies within the news organization. In a sordid way, the media use such tragic events as a macabre sort of entertainment. This is the end result, even though it may not be their intentions. These have a bearing on the minds of people. Please, never discount this.

Also, the primary directive of the U.S. criminal justice (an oxymoron), system is the seeking of fodder for more growth and as justification for existence. No matter how sad to detail–in spite of good works–the end often justifies the means. This, too, is for defensive purposes.

In summary – we need to look within. Questions begin arising as to the motives, if any, by such killer(s). Were drugs involved? If so, what, how much, and by whom were they administered? Was/were the person(s) diseased, insane, or the victim(s) of external forces imposing extreme paranoia. An example could be bullying, peer pressure, like gang initiation, or religious and/or ideological fervor? Could the individual(s) be part of a collective structure that is attempting to impose its will on others?

Finally, is the atmosphere the country has established been existing for peaceful co-existence by respecting property rights, free association, free speech, free movement, freer operations of commercial enterprises, etc.? If not, perhaps we should take a look at why, and try to change the bad factors by substituting them with good ones that do respect these basic natural laws.

God rest the victims and loved ones in Boston, Newtown, Missouri, and elsewhere around the world. The list is far too long.

Edward Allen
wesubmit-youdecide.com

 

DENY and DEFLECT

Originally posted just prior to election in

November, 2012

 

It is election season in the United States. For most of us, it is a time of excitement, examination and anticipation and many speeches. At times, we can be bombarded with attempted deception and downright fraud. So, how can we protect ourselves from the onslaught of television, print and radio advertising that may be deceptive outright lying? The knowledge may help you in any country!

 

Recently, I decided to search for the word “lying” online. It turned out to be a good decision and I was impressed by all the choices provided. It is probably best that we not waste our time with all the discussions. You can do this by your own research. I will just take the time to elaborate on some of the offerings.

 

There are the obligatory definitions of the word from various dictionaries. These are helpful but certainly not the whole story. One still needs the philosophical treatments of its moral, ethical, social and individual impacts in order to have a full understanding and appreciation of lyings' effects on us personally. During the research, you will readily see that telling lies and deception are universal, and not just something parents, relatives, teachers and other leaders have admonished us to avoid.

 

In addition to all of the wonderful articles found by typing “lying” into a search engine, may I suggest that one pay special attention to the BBC article entitled simply: “Lying.” This is not only a definitive work on the definitions, process, detection and understanding, but it goes deeply enough to answer most questions regarding it.

 

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just observe a person speaking and tell if he/she is in the act of lying to us? We have been led, after all, to believe that knowing simple body language will provide the answer. In my opinion, when it comes to body language, one thing stands out:

 

Most of the online submissions are so similar they seem to be “copied and pasted” from a predecessor. It is as though someone, or group, did research and then all the subsequent writers just relayed their findings without further thought, except to move sentences and paragraphs around. It could be they failed to dig deeply enough to understand that no one body language sign—such as restlessness, eye pupil dilation, or touching the face—is always a true sign. It is a good idea to learn what researchers have given us and use them as a basis whenever possible. But, body language is not an exact science! It can lead us to the proverbial trough, but it cannot always provide the water.

 

If the body language alerts were 100% “spot on,” then there would be no need for the police to drug test, incorporate lie detectors or for forensic studies of crime scenes. All the authorities would need is to

just take an alleged offender, or witness, into interrogation and observe, identify and act on the given body language movements and accompanying testimonies!

 

We must allow for the compounded experiences that develop over time, by the listener or reader. Each of us, more often than not, seems to grow our ability to detect when we are being deceived by known acquaintances. It is the unknown people with whom we come into contact, or to whom we listen, that can catch us off guard! Deception detection is not fool proof, as you know, and can lead us into some harrowing situations such as buying the unsuitable product, investment, scheme or a politician's aura. Don't be a victim! It takes more than just words and a smile for the astute to follow.

 

After we have taken a few moments to ponder the implications of much that lying entails on our lives, may I add this one observation that is provided by the title of this post?

 

Whether interviewing a prospective buyer, counseling an inmate in the prison, or just dealing with everyday interactions, I have personally noted that many people resort to DENY and DEFLECT. First the question is either dismissed out of hand or any answer is avoided without further banter. This is DENIAL.

 

At the rather rapid perception that denial may be working, the lying person resorts to deflecting the discussion away from the question at hand. This is usually an attempt to lessen stress by ending the query and diverting to a different topic. People seem to hope diversion will move attention away so that the questioner and will stop the process and allow the discussion to move onto something else.

 

This double action has been with us since the dawn of mankind. I do not usually resort to Bible references because I wish not to appear as preaching, but take a look at The Book of Genesis, Chapter 4, verse 9 – Cain when confronted by God for Abel's murder, replied: “I know not (Denial). “Am I my brother's keeper?” (Deflect). Regardless of whether one adheres to the whole story or not, it is undeniable that the Bible is very old, agreed?

 

Politicians are in their heyday during election times. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent in an attempt to convince us that one or the other candidate should be voted in as our President for four more years.

 

PLEASE PAY ATTENTION and COMMIT TO MEMORY these two words: “Deny” and “Deflect.” Study the responses given by members of all parties, their candidates, the news media and pundits, and especially White House press secretaries of all parties. Every time you see them using this method, it is safe to assume the person using it is lying, or at the very least, attempting deception.

 

Edward Allen

We Submit, You Decide

 

 

Ethics and Morality

Let me state what seems to be common sense: As far as we can know, no one asked to be here on this planet at this time and in this life. There is no denying, however, here we are.

 

The stimuli that exist around us arrive much like invisible space rocks. We are pummeled by mental and physical challenges that stack up like stones. As we navigate through the stones and smooth our journey's roads through life, we need others for assistance.

 

The poet John Donne (http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/no-man-is-an-island/) said: “No man is an island.” Truer words were never spoken. Attempting to lead our lives alone is so difficult that far too many who have tried living life solo have lost their minds in the process.

 

As we learn and grow, the challenge before us is appreciating just how important others are in our lives. Sometimes it does us well to imagine ourselves on a deserted island or out in a sandy, hot desert, without anyone else with whom we can speak. Just picture how your decisions would be made in such situations. What is safe to eat? How do you cool or heat yourself? How do you defend yourself against unknown wild animals and snakes, etc.? There is a better than odds chance most will not survive for long.

 

Most all of what we know is due to the pavement of our life roads by those who preceded us. The housing, the food production, the learning, the technology, virtually everything down to the water we drink most of us owe to others. Recognizing and accepting this need for others comes with a price.

 

We buy this privilege of living on the planet by adhering to regulations and laws that assist the harmonious interactions we call society.

 

Very early on, mankind saw the need for social regulation. Without regulating our ethical and moral actions, such as: Who leads the hunt?, who cleans the living quarters?, or how should the dinner kill be appropriated, chaos would have resulted more often than not. With exceptions made for respect, love and kindness, defined negative emotions come into play including jealously, envy, hatred, greed, and so forth arise while interacting with others. One can not copulate with someone's spouse or children, for example, and expect no negative results. If someone gets away with it, that person should consider it luck.

 

For most, we desire the freedoms to take our bodies and minds over rocky roads when and where we wish. People do not want others dictating and controlling their personal behaviors, even if resulting rules are in everyone's best interests. If not mentally, or emotionally, we will physically revolt unless a satisfying rationale is given for any restrictions. With exceptions for people who are emotionally, physically or mentally challenged, the rest of us MUST make decisions commensurate with social harmony, in order to avoid society rebelling against us personally! When society rebels against us, it can do so with a vengeance through actions such as sanctions, fines, levies, and/or incarceration. We understand these regulations for everything from taxes to traffic rules, but what about other behaviors?

 

We all have been endowed with basic (primary), needs like, food, water, protection from the elements, defense, and sex – yes, sex! Since sex is a natural need, why should others tell us what to do, or how to define or display it? Simply put, it is because we have to live together. We should consider consequences, such as those listed above, can result from traveling over rocks based on our choices, while ignoring the paths our ancestors have smoothed over long before we were born.

 

We recognize the positive aspects of sex. Given the profusion of our negative emotions, however, that result without regulating individual sexual behaviors, social disharmony abounds. History has shown us just how far afield mankind can go when our emotions drive us without discipline. In the realm of sexuality, not restricting personal behaviors through a sense of social responsibility has resulted in terrible outcomes. Sexual impropriety has divided parents and children, siblings, other relatives, neighbors, tribes and nations. It has caused physical and mental disorders and abuse, suicides, murders, and wars!

 

Let me say it this way: If we eat other's. food, steal their shelters, or drink their water without permission, we violate their primary needs. People are built with a knee-jerk-level, reactive capacity for defending primary needs. People should, and will, fight to keep their sexual freedoms. This is understandable as long as actions outside social boundaries are not so overt that social disharmony results. When this happens, society will defend itself and this could be worse to the offender than the original infraction(s).

 

 

 

Inside the Human Aquarium

Jenny sat quietly in front of her new 30-gallon aquarium. On this day, her water tank was completely full. The water was clear, with the level as recommended in the brochure. It was placed atop a stand next to the double window, just in case the fishes wanted to see outside the house, she thought.

 

It had been two weeks since her grandfather presented it for her ninth birthday. She remembered how excited he was as he pulled the sheet off it that day. He had hidden it in a dark corner of his bedroom. She was never allowed to enter that room so there was little chance she would find it early. She recalled how strange a big, square glass container appeared since there were no fishes to help her understand just what it was.

 

I will take you to the pet store tomorrow, so we can get you some fishes for it,” he exclaimed to his only granddaughter.

 

Fishes!” Jenny said to herself. She knew what they were from trips they had taken to the lake nearby. This made her all the more happy as she pondered the possibilities of owning her own live ones.

 

At the pet store, “Papa,” as she called her grandfather, encouraged her to be careful choosing the fishes, because some of them could be incompatible with one another, such as Cichlids and Oscars. He said that some of them will fight each other for territory, jealousy and fun. He advised to not emphasis the bright colors, but to buy ones that had longer lives. “One other thing,” he said, “buy some sorta algae eater or scum sucker, to help keep the tank clean.” She followed his advice by choosing 15 water babies she thought might live in peace for a long time.

 

Papa was visiting today as she sat there. He asked her what she was thinking while peering into her fish tank. She replied with a question: “Papa, do you think they can see me?”

 

Having hoped for this question to come up eventually, he replied: “Yes, but it depends on the water. If the water is clear, they know you are here. Just place your finger on the glass and watch them either run away or come nearer. The more you do this, the more you will learn from them and see that they learn of your intentions.”

 

As the child placed her forefinger tightly against the glass, she asked: “Do you mean they can tell if I place my finger here?”

 

Yes, that's right,” Papa said. “Here comes one of them now. Think about this now – that fish may be wondering only who or what you are, or it could be just hungry. Either way, the fish is learning from you and you are learning from it. Do you see?”

 

Papa came to Jenny's house to visit a week later. When he saw the water tank, he noticed that the water had become somewhat murky. Without asking what had happened--after all she was just a child—he sat out to clean the filter and taking other measures to clear up the water. Jenny's parents had not wanted the maintenance hassles that an aquarium can dictate, or so he reasoned. They had left any cleaning up to “Little Jen,” as they called her, and to Papa.

 

Jenny entered the room rather sheepishly, unsure how Papa would respond to the dirty water. Her first thoughts went out to Papa as an other question: “Papa, do you think the fishes can still see me?”

 

Perhaps not,” said Papa, “but they still know you are here.”

 

At that point, her parents came into the room and asked: “Dad, are you still preaching about how we all live in an aquarium of life, and that we can know God exists, even if we can not see Him, or prove any of it? If you are – thank you! The only reason we allowed that thing in the house was in the hope you would bring this up sometime.”

 

Papa followed with: “Please, let us all sit down.” He was thinking that having Jenny and her parents present together with Jenny might reinforce his discussion. “It is true, we can not absolutely prove anything about the Almighty. With what we know today, we can not prove if there is a God, gods, or even if None exists at all. But, just as the fishes can only see us when the water is clear, they still know we exist when the water is murky.

 

They can see us in clear water, as all of us know by observing them in our aquarium. The fishes know we are here by the food we place, and the taps we make on the glass. We see them reacting to us as we

act on them and their water.

 

We are like these fishes when in clean water in that when our thoughts are clean, clear and unobstructed by life's stresses, time demands and social controls, nature talks with us and helps us see the unseen much more in focus.

 

Our own aquarium of life is filled with others that may try to control us, take away our food and possessions, or even our lives. Many others just chase after us as though they are simply enjoying it.

 

And, like the fishes in your aquarium, Little Jen, if the water is unclear, we have to rely on other things to realize that Some Thing or Someone is still feeding us and tapping on our glass of life, only in ways that are not always known.

 

When we let too much gossip, work pressures, texting, computer time, political divisions, and even religious banter clog and fog our minds, our true understanding of what is outside ourselves becomes just as murky as the water in a dirty aquarium. So slow down, and keep your thoughts as clear as the water is when you you work to keep it clear. If life throws you a curve and your thoughts get murky as a result, fogging your vision, remember that something outside your glass is still there.

 

Edward Allen

We Submit, You Decide. ­

 

 

 

Negative Political Assumptions

Throughout human history, from the time we first organized society, a portion of the people viewed politics from several perspectives. An example would be that during the times of the U.S. Revolutionary War, it is estimated that about one-third were Tories (loyal to the British crown), one-third shared the sentiments of, or were involved in the Revolution directly, and one-third were too busy just earning or pursuing a living to care. One can still see vestiges of the Tory influence on American attitudes, politics and rituals, such as how we treat our presidents. Due to these prevailing attitudes, these prevailing attitudes, perhaps we should see ways that current people react to politics, politicians, and/or changes in society today.

 

  1. Those who do not care. These are the most dangerous, although they may vote in elections anyway. They can be the most malleable and used by those in Power. The negative assumption is that no matter what all will look out for him/her, regardless.

  2. Those who are afraid of change – Many fear that any changes could upset the status quo, which could result in worsened conditions. Most of these people mask their concerns and fears by non-participation and informing others that “it does not matter anyway, you can not change it. You are only one voice.” Fear is the negative assumption.

  3. Those who treat political matters as a form of game. Their lack of attention to real issues is apparent in their ignorance. They are quick to form loyalties and rally behind anything partisan. Obviously, this can be a negative assumption based on naiveté'.

  4. The cocky uninformed or misinformed quick voter. This is the person who does not study issues or backgrounds, but votes for the sake of voting. It is a conscience cleanser. Do I need to spell out the negative assumption here?

  5. The Single Issue Voter – this voter pays attention to just one issue--to the neglect of studying any others. In fact, the person might even lack sufficient knowledge for voting properly even on the one issue to which he or she is most dedicated. This voter negatively assumes all other issues and persons will be best in the course of things.

  6. Rabid Partisans – These are the ones whose dedication to their party affiliation trumps whether the party is correct or not, in whole or in part. In the U.S., each rabid partisan feels his party loyalty is emblematic of intelligence, and knowledge of issues over those of opposing parties. This is an other cocky approach and is a very negative assumption.

  7. Super Patriots – Those who will support their governments no matter the methods used, or outcomes. These are the people we commonly say “Have their heads in the sand.” They too can be dangerous because they often vote without studying the issues. Here is a member of society who negatively assumes that the government has his/her back in all things.

  8. The Truly Independent Voter -A non-partisan political observer or activist outside the normal political party memberships or loyalties. These often maintain an air of superior thinking. This person may take full interest in the political issues of the day and denounce all prominent parties as wrong or illegitimate. It is a negative assumption that all other political entities are always wrong.

  9. Conspiratiists – Those who think government and all political parties are just pawns outside the known political structures or that power is their only interest. They express feelings that others are controlling them and their leaders from behind the scenes. They may also feel a heightened sense of paranoia toward anything governmental. Even though they could be correct in whole or in part, the paranoia created by this thinking must be understood by the individual and ever monitored to maintain clear thinking. You get the picture here. You do not need me spelling out why this can be a negative assumption.

It is easy recognizing each of these members of society when defined. Each voter is working on assumptions and this can be negative to our way of life! I may not have identified all of them, but at least this gives us a starting point.

 

As mentioned above—with the exception of the people listed last, all these people often assume that the leaders of their respective party or government, are governing with the best of intentions and “have their backs” for security, moral legislation and economic benefit. Each can be dangerous to liberty in his/her own right.

 

The first step in moving forward to (or back to), a better society is identifying how we approach politics and leaders individually, and if we should change.

 

Edward Allen

wesubmit-youdecide.com

 

 

 

Religious and/or Spiritual?

 

Political candidates make certain their biographies define them as religious, while providing their associations with certain churches. synagogues or mosques. They do this, it often appears,  as an attempt to win favor by having them seen as  “just one of the people.” Whenever we compose our resumes, we sometimes feel it is a good idea to show our religious affiliation. Is this a good idea? The ever-talking  gossip mouth (in the office,

neighborhood or school), makes certain everyone knows our religious leanings. It is just part of our culture, but is misconstrued as a necessary fact for everyone so each can know how to approach someone else better.

 

Less often read, seen, or heard is that a person is spiritual. Could this be because some feel that spirituality has a metaphysical tone or suggests that someone may be less than pragmatic? Maybe he or she is “off the deep end”? Could it also be that being spiritual, religious or both, is a sign of less open-mindedness? Is the opposite of these states a sign of more sophistication or pragmatism?

 

Can one be religious and not be spiritual? Is it possible to be spiritual and not religious? Could it also be possible to be both religious and spiritual at the same time?

 

You see, when we delve into the distinctions between the states of religiosity, and/or spirituality, or the lack of either, we are compelled to begin answering questions for the subjects can not be broached without many questions and answers.  

 

Dictionary.com says: Being religious is: “imbued with or exhibiting religion;  pious; devout; godly: a religious man; scrupulously faithful; conscientious: religious care.”

 

Do you see something underlying here? With the exception of “godly,” (a purely subjective term), each of these suggest an outward adherence to certain precepts and institutional trappings. At the risk of redundancy, these terms suggest that a religious person is faithful to following the institutional line.

Would you agree that by these definitions, being religious suggests a choice of actions or adherences? When one is religious, one makes a choice to not only accept, but to become adherent to certain precepts, rituals, ideologies, philosophies and symbolisms. The choice may be made for lack of questioning that which has been presented, or through actual acceptance of certain, or all, tenets. A person attends or becomes a member of an organization as a statement of acceptance and adherence.

 

At Dictionary.com: A spiritual person is described as: “Pertaining to, or consisting of spirit; incorporeal; of or pertaining to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature: a spiritual approach to life.” The definitions go on to provide other definitions pertaining to spiritualism, (as in divining the spirits, etc.), but for our discussions, let us concentrate on the other listed definitions.

 

When one is a spiritual person, he or she is making a conscious effort to seek answers for rising inner questions. A spiritual person seeks developing a closer line of communication with not only the inner self, but with the sources of answers to the arising questions, where and if possible. If those sources are
corporeal the pursuit continues and is not stifled.

 

Is it possible to be religious without being spiritual? I would say “Yes!” I would also state that I am glad not to be the One empowered with knowing whether someone else is or not.

 

Is it possible to be spiritual without being religious? I would say “Yes!” Once again I would not want to be the One with whom the decision is given.

 

Is it possible to be both religious and spiritual? I would say “Yes!” But would add that only each individual can answer for oneself. Let me further state that we would be in a much better, safer world if each person would ask whether or not being religious controls his or her life, or does being spiritual dictate the avenues we choose as we walk this earth?

 

Is it possible to take one's paths through life without being either religious or spiritual? It is, of course, but to do so, one has to ignore or denounce many questions as they arise and further continue denouncing or ignoring existential and natural questions while remaining in this state.

 

Currently, we see a world in turmoil over religious views and its symbolisms. Perhaps it is time for everyone, of every nation, to ask: “Am I being driven by religious compulsion or a spiritual journey?

 

 

 

 

Fear of Knowledge

 

“I am not afraid of most knowledge. It can not harm or kill me directly.”  --Edward Allen

 

   When we look at the above, our knee-jerk reacFetion is usually to say: “Well that is just common sense. I am not afraid of knowledge. How ridiculous!” Yet. Are you sure?  I submit that most people receive  some NEW information with a degree of trepidation and may not know it.

 

   Obviously, any information that offers a genuine physical threat to us personally or to our family, loved ones, friends or property, will naturally elicit our resistance. Most will advance their defensive walls automatically.

 

As an extreme example, if we perceive that witnessing a crime could cause us, or others, physical harm, we will either 1) physically retaliate, or interfere at once,  2) study more and then react, or 3) we could deny the information and turn away as O.J. Simpson may have done. There are many books available explaining why we retaliate physically.

 

   The knowledge I am referring to is not physically threatening—except, possibly, as a stress-related inducement. Some knowledge can pose threats to us only cognitively and emotionally. When one feels
that his ideological, religious, political, scientific, creative, occupational, or possessional choices are threatened, the proverbial “flight or fight” reactions are elicited – sometimes in much the same ways as would be as if the sources are attacking us physically. If one has believed in certain religious positions wholeheartedly, for example,  it is natural for that person to fear a change in position as a threat.

 

   The key word above is “choices.” Is the knowledge presented to you, and accepted by you, a choice? Could it be that what you accept as true knowledge is internalized because you have denied any alternatives as a defense mechanism? I submit that no one on earth has ever chosen everything that is presented as truth, and thankfully so.  Although some information passes enough litmus tests to be true, some knowledge is downright false.

 

Some information is presented as only appearing to be entirely true. Some information is presented to us with only partial truth, but with enough actual, undeniable facts to deceive.

 

Other information presented omits key points, while cleverly ignoring them by design. (Some politicians are very skilled at this one.)  And then, I repeat, some facts, to the best of our knowledge, are true. How we react to the knowledge is a choice.

 

   We make our choices as to whether the information is real, factual and true based on our prior experiences, observations and learned data. So what is the best way to go about learning and choosing
truth? As I have said in previous blog posts, one has to keep questioning. By seeking more and more answers, we will make more advancements. I will continue repeating this phrase throughout my philosophical posts. Our choices are based on the questions we raise and the answers provided either by nature or humanity.

 

   Let us use the hypothetical of a school child. Suppose the child has learned all that was presented in the Seventh Grade. If that child then closes his/her mind and intrinsically allows the mind to be convinced there is nothing more to learn--and thus stops asking internal questions--then any advancement toward other grades or graduation is certainly prevented. The child's learning level will remain at the Seventh Grade level academically forever. But, if he or she resumes asking questions at any time thereafter, then informational advancement continues once again.  

 

      One has to study the sources of information as much as the information itself. Study the writer by investigating the author's background and qualifications. Study a speaker the same way before you accept what is said at face value. It would be advice to take a mental check of the following:


    a) Is the writer or speaker profiting from the content?


    b) Does the writer or speaker earn a living from the content?  


   Neither of the above qualifications should necessarily diminish or nullify the message, but should be considered simply because when one depends on content for material advancement, the temptation to embellish the message is elevated.


    c) Study between the message lines for tone, style, pitch, cadence, while seeing to identify certain patterns. Authors and speakers use each of these for emphases. Sometimes these methods are used to effect emotions—much like movie makers use music--while influencing choices. They can also be used to elevate emotions while masking omissions! Understanding the usage of each of these helps explain how powerful publications and speakers can mesmerize huge audiences.

 

   Study the sources of the information that are presented. Is the research verifiable, repeatable, and consistent with normal standards? Do your own research, if available, such as reading the original sources for yourself, as well as additional sources that may or may not agree with the author or speaker's views.  One might not always have the time for these things. This is where we supplant direct involvement with vicarious learning or acceptance by faith. The latter can be a sanity safety valve. (We can discuss this statement more fully later.)

 

      All of us would be well advised to consider that life is a series of matriculations. As we make choices and learn, we graduate to the next level in ALL AREAS. The old adage that “no one has a corner on truth,” applies to everyone. But all societies must be devised to allow people to matriculate in their knowledge, just like the grade school child. To do otherwise is to condemn mankind to mediocrity.

 

This is why freedom is so important!

 

Societies that restrict access to knowledge religiously, politically or economically, etc., stifle their inhabitants' personal growth. The opposite is true for those societies which work to foster questions and thereby reduce the inhabitants' fears of new knowledge.

 

  If we want to remain free – free to make informational choices in all areas of our lives, short of harming others or general society—then we must constantly remain aware that freedom is the opposite of control, unless you are the controller! We become the controller by increasing our knowledge, and when you are the real controller, you do not fear the knowledge you have and present.

 

Understanding and accepting the above provides me incentives to look at opposites of views I hold. For instance, I am on both Republican and Democrat mailing lists and emails. I continue studying religious views, from Eastern, Middle Eastern and Western cultures. I have read the Koran, the Bible, Hindu texts, etc. Of course, my Friends, I do not agree with all of them, or any one specifically, but by
extinguishing the fear of knowledge, my mind is opened up for new revelations. 

 

This also, should not suggest that I do not believe in standards. I do, but in order to verify to myself that these standards are valid, I must keep asking questions. Do you feel this way? This is not to say that the same should apply to you, but I write this in the hopes it may help someone drop his.her fears and ask questions.  

 

Edward Allen
We Submit, You Decide
 

 

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